A bench of the SC comprising of the Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao directs the Central Government to file its status report on a petition seeking immediate direction to the Union and the state governments for adopting measures to sanitize the Indians stranded at different bus terminals.
The Chief Justice directed the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to file a status report by tomorrow on the steps being taken over large scale migration of daily wage and migrant workers. The Chief Justice further said that the Court would not further complicate the things by issuing orders on the things government is already doing since “fear and panic is a bigger problem than the virus.”
SG Mehta appearing for the union Government said that the message should not go that,“we are trying to smoothen the process. The Migration has to be stopped.”
The petition has been filed by two Social Activists, Rashmi Bansal (AOR) and Advocate Anuj Gupta highlighting the present scenario of a mass exodus of migrant workers from cities in several states to their villages in view of the 21-day lockdown imposed by the Government of India to prevent the spread of coronavirus, thus triggering concerns that the COVID-19 outbreak could turn into a humanitarian crisis.
The petitioners acknowledge the steps taken by the Central and State authorities to ease the hardships faced by migrant workers, who are walking long distances to travel back to their native places. Moreover steps were also being taken to provide essential supplies, yet it is difficult to stop the migrants from travelling and some of them may carry the virus along with them to the villages.
The petitioners further highlight that “News reports, several photos and videos are already in circulation over Social Media in which these Citizens of India can be seen to be straddled at Bus terminals of Metros/commercial cities. Their migration may lead to disaster and outburst at the villages if some of these migrants turned out to be the carriers of virus as the symptoms surface in any infected persons from 7- 14 days.”
The petitioners have further suggested that these migrant workers should be sanitized through the sanitizer machines before they are allowed to travel to their villages in order to prevent the transfer of virus from one person to villages since thermal checking techniques work only when the virus is active in a person.
The petitioners further pray that directions be issued to the Central and state authorities to “spray the disinfectant on each and every commuter (as well his/her belongings) at the entry gate of Bus terminal itself i.e. before they leave Metro/Commercial Cities for their native locations.”
-India Legal Bureau